How to Write a Communication Plan Like a Pro
Why you need a communication plan for your next project
Let's face it: Communication in the digital age is both a blessing and a curse! While it's much easier to get ahold of people and send messages en-masse, timing can be an issue. Things get lost in the shuffle, confusion runs rampant, and projects come to a screeching halt.
If you've ever worked on a large-scale project with multiple team members and stakeholders, you know this struggle too well! Luckily, there are ways to keep everyone on the same page. The best course of action is to develop a well-written communication plan.
A communication plan is a roadmap and guideline of how, when, and where you share information about a project. It defines objectives and simplifies the way you deliver messages. Instead of running around trying to clear up confusion or get status updates, you can turn to a communication plan for all the information you need from one place.
This blog will go over the importance of these plans, give you a communication plan example, and show you how to create one for yourself! Buckle up, because this information will change the way you do projects forever!
What is a communication plan?
The concept of a communication plan is pretty straightforward. Think of it as reference material that keeps projects and communication strategies on track.
There are a million moving parts when you're working on a marketing campaign, for example. Multiple team members are working on different aspects of the final project. Meanwhile, external stakeholders sometimes need to keep up with status updates and communicate changes in real-time.
To make matters worse, you might have to deal with staggered launches. Timing is everything in marketing, and setting an appropriate timeline to publish all those crucial touch-points can make all the difference.
Needless to say, there are countless ways things can go wrong. What happens when you need clarity about something not in your wheelhouse? Or what if you're unsure when a particular piece of the puzzle needs to be finished for the next person to keep the project moving? Who do you go to, and what's the best way to reach out?
See why a communication plan is so crucial?
These carefully written plans provide all the clarity you, your team members, and multiple external stakeholders need to stay on track. Communication plans offer clarity, eliminating confusion and boosting productivity across the board.
Communication plans in action
There is no shortage of communication plan examples out there! Organizations use these roadmaps all the time, and it's not only for one industry or department. It's an excellent tool for internal marketing teams, but you'll also see it used by public relations and other departments communicating with large audiences.
Internally, you might see it used for completing complex processes. For example, let's say you're part of a budget process that affects multiple teams. In this case, a communication plan lays out all the meetings and documentation required to complete the operation efficiently. The project communication plan might include what each team's responsibility is, who they report to, and what information they need.
In this context, the communication plan is crucial for keeping everyone up to date on the budget process and clears up any confusion about what's going on at any given moment.
Another good example is looking at a global brand with marketing teams worldwide. As you can imagine, communication is more challenging than ever when teams are in different time zones. Working on a large-scale campaign could be a nightmare. For productive asynchronous collaboration, a communication plan is key to avoiding confusion and delays.
In this case, everyone working on the project can refer to the communication plan to see when tasks are due, who they go to, and more.
Those are just a couple of communication plan examples. The truth is that these plans are versatile enough to serve any project involving multiple people.
Why you need a communication plan
Still on the fence about needing a communication plan? Whether you do a crisis communication plan or one catered to internal projects, they offer tons of benefits. Here are just a few of the biggest.
🎯 A centralized platform
The best thing about these plans is that they make all the relevant information you need available in one place. No more digging through hard drives, switching through a library of apps, or sifting through piles of emails to get the things you need. Just refer to the communication plan, and you're good to go!
🤝 Better collaboration
Have you ever considered how lackluster communication systems hamper collaboration? When people don't know how to get ahold of others, many just work on their own and save the frustration for later.
A communication plan fosters collaboration. Whether in real-time or through asynchronous teamwork, it's all possible when you have a good plan.
📑 Keep everyone on the same page
Poor communication is a huge time-waster and productivity killer. Seriously: Think about how much time your team wastes just getting the clarity they need. Once again, a good communication plan eliminates all of that. It sets expectations and lets everyone know what's going down. A well-written plan streamlines productivity, plain and simple.
🔎 Curated information that's relevant
Communication plans are a must if your messages contain sensitive information or rely on strategic timing. You can control access to the plan and ensure that you're delivering only relevant information when your audience needs it.
🗓 Fewer mess-ups and missed deadlines
Finally, you can say goodbye to frequent mistakes! Once again, these plans are all about keeping things clear and getting rid of confusion. There's no excuse for avoidable mistakes when you lay everything out for everyone to see.
Adopt a communication plan, and you should see far fewer silly mess-ups.
📋 A plan of action when you need it most
We've all been there: An unexpected turn of events changes your plans at the last second. What do you do?
A crisis communication plan can detail the steps of what to do in unexpected emergencies. Whether that's a PR nightmare or a last-minute marketing change, a crisis communication plan can help you get things done and respond accordingly.
How to make your own communication plan
Creating a communication plan is pretty easy. But you know what's even easier? A template from Collato! Collato makes it easy to create a communication plan in minutes. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to make it happen.
Step 1: Identify team members and stakeholders
Collato uses a card-based system. It relies on easy visuals that every team member can quickly reference.
The first thing you need to do when creating a project communication plan is to define your stakeholders. Who needs access to the plan? The exact people you'll include will vary from one project to the next. However, the people you want to consider involving are:
- Project team members
- Sub-team members or freelancers
- C-level individuals
Within the Collato platform, you can add people to the project and provide access to the project communication plan. There's also the option to share relevant information via a "review link." That way, stakeholders can see the project's progress without signing up.
Step 2: Define the communication channels
Next, you'll need to identify how you plan on communicating. This is a crucial step that will clear up confusion tremendously.
Decide which platforms you'll communicate on and how you'll use them. For example, you might choose to collaborate in real-time through video. Alternatively, some tasks may be best with asynchronous communication.
On Collato, it's also easy to leave comments and short messages for each task.
Step 3: Set your objectives
Every communication plan needs objectives. Collato uses cards for each task. You can create cards for every phase of the project. Set due dates and assignments.
It's also possible to view cards on a calendar, making it much easier to stay on schedule.
Step 4: Upload relevant content
You have far more flexibility than simply creating task cards! Upload documents and put all your content in one accessible place. You can even add text directly to the cards, upload screen recordings for clarity, and more.
Use this feature to your advantage! It comes in handy!
Step 5: Set communication plan parameters
The beauty of Collato's communication plan template is that you can update cards as the project progresses.
Start by setting relevant parameters. That includes due dates, owners of the task, frequency of communication, and more. As people work on the various functions, they can update the information to keep everyone on the same page.
Step 6: Share and monitor
Finally, keep track of your communication plan as you go! Share it with the people who need it, and adjust permissions as things change. The Collato communication plan template is a living document that will transform as the project moves along.
Keep the ball rolling and stay on track
What is a communication plan, if not a must-have productivity booster? A well-written plan can be a real life-saver! Projects are getting more complicated than ever! With so much at stake and multiple people contributing, it doesn't take much for things to go off the rails.
A well-written plan is a roadmap to success. It boosts productivity, eliminates mistakes, and makes collaboration much more effortless. What more could you want? Check out the Collato communication plan template for yourself and see what difference it makes!